Blackhawks' Lehner rips shootout: 'We lost in a lottery'

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is not a fan of the shootout. (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NHLI via Getty Images)

After a 2-1 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks have an 0-3 record in the game-deciding event and goaltender Robin Lehner is not pleased.

Despite saving 40 of 41 shots against, he was marked with a loss and that rubbed him the wrong way.

“We lost in a lottery, and then it turns all negative. It is what it is,” Lehner said, clearly frustrated.

This has been an ongoing issue for the Blackhawks, who hold the most shootout losses in the Western Conference.

“I was 96 to 98 per cent over three, four, five, six games and we didn’t win...two losses in the shootout and all of a sudden I was the worst person in the world — because of the shootout,” Lehner continued.

The goaltender got to the root of the problem and tried to see it from the league’s point-of-view.

“It’s such a fan thing,” Lehner said. “A good shootout goalie can have terrible numbers and not be very good, but he wins a shootout and he’s a hero of the world. It’s how it is.”

Weighing the entertainment of the shootout and the logic behind the event deciding the end result has been a consistent battle since it was brought into the league after the 2004-05 lockout.

It’s a different skill than the regular game, and Lehner recognizes that it’s something that he just can’t control.

“It’s frustrating because I’m just not good at it,” Lehner said. “People think — as I said in the tweet — ‘oh it’s mental’. You kidding me? You think I’m nervous? You think I care? I just try to save the puck like anything else.”

In his brazen response, Lehner mentioned that the “shootout is not hockey,” while calling out the local media for criticizing his performance.

The Blackhawks goaltender is a career 8-22 in the event.

“Shootout goals against is every weakness I have, and it takes away from every strength that I have. It’s simple,” he said.

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Lehner was able to reflect on his most recent shootout loss. Saving almost 98 per cent of the shots against clearly struck a nerve.

“It’s incredibly annoying. We went head-to-head against one of the best teams in the league last game,” Lehner said. “[Joe] Pavelski, Corey Perry, [Jamie] Benn, [Tyler] Seguin, [John] Klingberg, [Ben] Bishop, [Anton] Khudobin, all these guys. We lose that game and what were the headlines? ‘Debrincat can’t buy a goal’, ‘Robin can’t stop a shootout’, ‘we can’t get a call’, I mean, the negativity is overwhelming.”

Through 13 appearances, Lehner has a 5-4-3 record, a .938 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average.

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